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  • Category:
    Green Energy
  • Published:
    January 9, 2013
  • Updated:
    April 9, 2021

How Solar Works in 4 Steps

Do you have a clear understanding of how solar energy is converted into electricity? Sure, you probably understand the basic concept that that the solar panels you put on your roof convert sunlight into energy for your home.  But it is possible to know a little more than that and still not overcomplicate the process.

Below is a 4-step breakdown of just how solar works for you!

1) Individual silicon based (most commonly) cells called photovoltaics (PV) make up the modern day solar panel. These PV cell clusters perform the task of converting incoming sunlight directly into electricity.

2) Wires attached to the panels transport the converted electricity to a piece of equipment called an inverter. The job of the inverter is to convert the solar generated Direct Current (DC) electricity into the type of power your home can use, which is called Alternating Current (AC).

3) After the electricity travels through the inverter, the AC electricity is then transported via wire to your breaker panel to meet your home’s electric demands.

4) The process doesn’t end there, though. There are times when your panels will generate more power than you consume and times when you aren’t generating enough electricity (night times and periods of low light). When your panels are not generating enough solar electricity, you will continue to get power from your local utility. However, when you’re generating a surplus of solar electricity, that excess clean energy will be “net metered” to your local utility grid and you may earn a credit on your power bill for that net metered electricity.

For a better visual of how this process works, check out our below infographic (click on image to enlarge).


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